First, here is the basic equipment you need for a 1-gallon batch:
• An open-mouthed vessel that’s 2 or more gallons in volume. It can be ceramic, glass, wood or food-grade plastic. Do not ferment in metal, as fermentation can cause toxins to leach into your must.
• A narrow-necked vessel. Glass is best. Most recipes call for 1-gallon jugs or 5-gallon carboys, but you can ferment in any sized vessel.
• A stir stick. Wood, metal or plastic cooking spoons will do, but you can also make your own stir stick from untreated wood.
• A funnel, a strainer and a siphoning tube are all useful for racking (transferring) between vessels, but you can get by without them if you’re prepared to clean up a mess.
• An airlock. You can buy these or improvise. An airlock prevents outside air from entering the wine during long-term fermentation and causing acetobacter (acetic acid bacteria) to turn your wine into vinegar. It must also allow C02 to exit your fermenter to keep it from becoming pressurized and exploding. A balloon or condom will do in a pinch.
• Bottles, corks, caps and corking/capping equipment. You can drink straight from the jug, but bottling and aging will have marvelous effects on the flavor.
Now for the ingredients:
• 12 cobs of fresh-picked sweet corn
• 2 pounds of granulated sugar or honey
• 1/2 cup orange juice (or 2 squeezed oranges)
• 1 tea bag (black tea for tannin)
• 4-6 raisins
• 1 package (5 grams) sweet wine yeast, such as Lalvin D-47
• 1 gallon of water (approx.)
For a free catalog of wine making supplies, contact:
Independence, MO 64054
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This article was originally published in The NEW PIONEER™ Winter 2016 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.